To My Son, on Your First Day of “School”

Sweet Bug,

It seems like it was yesterday that we were celebrating your birth-day. I knew you were coming that day from the moment I woke at midnight, just like I knew your name from the day we found out you even existed. Your entrance into the world was so smooth and easy, but I’ll be honest Sweet G, those first two weeks were rough. We both cried a lot- me way more than you.

I didn’t know what I was doing. YOU didn’t know what I was doing. We were so out of sync. I sat there in the dark (after figuring out you hated when I turned all the lights on at 2am) so many nights just nursing you while I cried, feeling like I was so ill equipped for the role of being your mommy. I thought a lot that maybe there would be someone better for you, someone who didn’t make you cry so much. Someone who wasn’t so anxious or sad. Surely I wasn’t what God had in mind for you.

Then one night, about two weeks in, as I sat there in my sadness, a song came on the radio that said “and I’ve heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night, and You tell me that You’re pleased and that I’m never alone.” I needed to hear that so badly. I needed to hear that I was chosen to be your mommy and that I was good enough. Being your mommy reminded me how much I needed Jesus.

Hearing that encouraged me to accept my role instead of fighting it. You and I fell into sync that night- it was magical. I always knew that you were a huge blessing to me and that you would change me for the better, but the ways God uses you, my sweet one, are profound.

I’m so excited to start a new adventure with you, as you start to go off into the world, little by little without me. You need to know that I am now and will always be your number one fan, even when I can’t be standing right beside you. I know that the goal of being your mommy is that I train you up to be loving and kind and independent, but if we could take that independent piece gently…..

My Sweet G- I love you so much.

Forevever, For Always, No Matter What.

I Lava You.

Mommy

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Baby Vs Barbell

Life is really busy right now. All the moms in the room, I’m sure, are nodding knowingly. My little man will be 4 months old on Monday and I feel like I am just now getting back into the swing of things. This new found rhythm made me think that going back to the gym would be a snap.

Mr Ham and I located a gym very close to our home where there is daycare ($1/hr! Amazing!) and we signed up right away. I was pumped. I know that lifting again will get my head right and will help me feel more like myself. Unfortunately, there is one thing I didn’t take into account:  Mom guilt is real.

Monday afternoon I rushed home from work to get my workout clothes on. I was pumped. Then I realized that I could no longer just drop everything and lift. My body was different now and my baby was nursing. I would have to time things just right so that he had food and so that my body wouldn’t be uncomfortable. Timing this sort of thing out is hard, guys.

Not only that, I also had to take into account the effects that lifting would have on the quality of his…dinner. (There’s no way to phrase this that doesn’t come off slightly awkward!)

Thirdly, lifting always leaves me a little sore the next day (DOMs) but I never took into account that it would make me sore for 4 fulls days. It was such a chore to just walk up the stairs- it was hard to get down and play with my son when I was as sore as I was.

All of this made me feel guilty- was he going to suffer just so I could start to get my body back? I felt so guilty, like I was taking from him. See- mom guilt is real.

However, what I realized then and have to remind myself now, my body will serve both of us better if I am healthy and strong. There may be some stumbling blocks on the way there, but if I am careful and take care of my body well (hydrate, lift smart, keep walking) I think the both of us can benefit from this process!

I’m excited to get back under the barbell! Time to get to work!

 

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In Four Weeks…

In four weeks my son will meet the world, me, and his dad. He will look around for the first time, be held, snuggled, kissed, and welcomed. He will have grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends anxiously standing by to cheer him on and help him know just how much he is loved.

In four weeks our dogs, our furbabies, will learn what having a tiny human around the house means for them; snacks on the floor, tugs on the ears, nights spent *not* on our bed (sorry kids), and a little buddy who loves them like a sibling would.

In four weeks our everyday life will involve a level of vigilance and protection that we’ve never had to have before- putting someone else’s needs before our own (when appropriate) and keeping a watchful eye out for anything and everything we can do to keep the small one safe.

In four weeks a hope I’ve had since I first decided I wanted to be a mom will be realized and whatever it looks like, though drastically different from the first visions I had, will be perfect. The time spent will be worth it. The let downs turned into teaching lessons. The prayers, though not on our timeline or in the ways we would’ve thought, answered.

In four weeks we begin a new adventure. I couldn’t be more excited, scared, thrilled, blessed, or joyful.

I’m overwhelmed, in all the best ways possible.

Come, little man. In your own time, in your own way. You have no idea the wild ride you’re in for.

Lucky Number Seven

Seven. I have about seven weeks until my son gets here, my world gets rocked, and life changes forever.

Or so I’m told.

The last few months have gone by fast. Between moving, work, and weekly birth classes, I’ve barely noticed that we have snuck into single digits. It wasn’t until I was sitting in the living room folding an amazing yet unending pile of Newborn to 3 month baby clothes we were gifted that I realized just how soon there would be a tiny body in them.

Reality– my favorite brick wall to the face.

Time hop offers me a look back at my life a year ago: all the hiking I was doing, all the PR’s and lifts I was hitting, and all the crazy adventures I was getting myself into. Man, I was busy.

Now my days are full of preparing for a tiny human to join our crazy little family unit. I’m still very busy.

Instead of leaving everyone wondering if I got eaten or fell off the face of the Earth, here are some things that I am up to:

Each week my husband and I take a childbirth class, focusing on the Bradley Method, through Colorado Natural Childbirth. I like it because when I think about things that keep me healthy (like the ideals that I hold dear and that drive the personal decisions I make), having a drug and intervention free delivery and offering that same type of start to life to my son is of utmost importance. It’s my way of putting my money where my mouth is, so to speak. We learn lots of different things from anatomy to interventions to relaxation techniques. All of this is so that we can be informed consumers and directors of our own healthcare decisions in the delivery room. I feel empowered.

Also, many of you know I struggle with a clinical level of anxiety- taking these classes has given me the knowledge that I need to be able to calm myself down and somewhat know what to expect when the big day comes. GI Joe wasn’t kidding, and if you struggle with anxiety like I do, you know that one of the best tools to combat new situations and triggers is to get informed. Some of the information is scary and overwhelming, but the alternative of freaking out in the delivery room is way worse.

Our class also has a nutrition and stretching/exercise component, which I really like. While I haven’t been able to maintain clean or even paleo type eating through the pregnancy (haven’t/chose not to…), the nutrition guidelines they ask us to follow are pretty basic and very helpful. They keep me eating a certain number of green and orange veggies, protein, eggs etc. each day, which I needed. The stretching and exercises we do are great to keep my body flexible and strong for the marathon that is labor.

My husband and I have a birth plan we are happy with and a healthy level of reality where we can expect the unexpected.

My sleep, which is one of the 4 pillars of health I try to keep my focus on, is sufficient. The only major issue I’m having is hip pain, causing me to roll like a rotisserie chicken on a spit throughout the night. That’s an attractive visual, isn’t it? I end up getting close to 7 ½ hours each night and I generally wake up feeling pretty good. I just try to remember that the dull ache is my body stretching and moving to make room for Tinybaby to come into the world.

The only piece of my life that I’m truly “missing” these days is walking/hiking. I used to be able to get out for hours on end and wander, but now if I get too far from home I worry that I won’t be able to get back or that I’ll have to go to the bathroom while in the middle of nowhere. This is not ideal.

Anyhow, this is where I’m at, for anyone who was wondering. Life has a rhythm right now, and soon a new rhythm will replace it- one full of crying, giggles, snuggles, and adventures as a family. And for that, I am so freaking excited.

Change of Plans (Surprise!)

I was just sitting here thinking “I should probably update my blog and tell folks how that big awesome list of things to do is going…”

Well, here is your update: I have done zero things that I said I would so far. And it’s totally ok.

After I wrote that amazing list of things I was going to accomplish in 2015, I got sick. Around Mid January I found myself barely able to pull myself out of bed. I was lethargic, weepy, and just plain exhausted. I thought at first that maybe the time change that had happened in November was having some lingering affect on me. Maybe I was coming down with mono or some other sort of illness. Maybe I overdid it at Christmas and my body was revolting.

Never once did I consider the now obvious answer.

I’m expecting.

It’s crazy- after trying to get pregnant for nearly two years, you just stop expecting it to happen. At the urging of a friend who heard my symptoms, I went to the store and bought a pregnancy test. In fact, I bought a two pack. I have been through the let down of the negative test before, so I was bracing myself for more of the same. My husband, however, had not and I didn’t want to get his hopes up and crush them, so I decided to take it in private. I even went as far as to hide the packaging and extra test in my car, so that when it was a bust, he would be none the wiser.

As I sat there waiting for the three minutes to come around, I watched in awe as a second line appeared for the very first time. Two. There were two lines.

My husband was in the other room asking me questions and telling me about his day, when I quietly asked him to come in the bathroom and help me. I’ve always wanted to be one of those girls who had awesome ways of surprising her husband with the news, but in my shock and awe, all I could get out was “Are those two lines? There’s two, right?”

He had no idea what I was talking about, but he did agree there were two. Then his eyes focused on what exactly I was holding and he looked up at me as I shook violently.

The next hour was filled with phone calls to close friends, talking and staring at the test, and tears.

I am now 17 1/2 weeks along and Bacon Bits (the name we have affectionately given out spawn) seems to be doing well.

I haven’t done much since I got pregnant- I always thought I would be one of those moms you see, belly out, still dead-lifting, but alas I am not. I’m lucky if I have the energy to walk 5,000 steps a day. We tried to go for a hike the other day and I had to go very slow up some very small hills. I just can’t breathe like I used to.

This little peanut is taking a toll on me. But to quote a picture I saw the other day, “Pregnancy is the happiest reason there is to feel like crap.” It’s so true.

I’m hoping this summer can bring some more hikes, but for now I am doing what I can to keep my stress down, sleep a ton, drink all the water, and nourish my body well.

Lucy and Maui get promoted!

Year End What’s Up/ What’s Next

Well, 2014, it’s been real.

This year has been a huge tornado of firsts and changes. Sometimes, a few life path alterations keep us pointed in the same direction, but I have had so many this year that I truly feel like my life has started in on a new journey.

The year started off in an epic way- my first lifting meet! I flew down in January to Dallas Texas to meet up with some of the best people on the planet- other Rebels from Nerd Fitness. We met up at a Crossfit gym, and cheered each other on towards a mountain of PR’s. Hanging out with them was a highlight for me, and now that it’s almost a year later, I miss them all so much. Such good people.

Nerd Fitness Crew

In May my best friend and I did our very first Spartan race. It was one of the most challenging things I had done. The water was freezing, the obstacles were difficult, and the finish was epic. I’m thinking I might even shoot for more in 2015…

Spartan

June brought one of the most epic things I have ever done, which led me to one of the most amazing communities ever. GORUCK. I participated in a Light, and now I have plans to get a challenge in 2015, and maybe a few more events? Hint hint, GORUCK, a scavenger in Colorado would be cool…  My reward to myself and a belated birthday present was Ziva, my GORUCK pack. Easily the most comfortable bag I’ve ever owned.

GORUCK Light Class 322

Most of my summer was spent hiking, 14ers in specific. There are quite a few that I still want to get to, and 2015 has their names written all over it. I’m really excited to get back out on the trails and to keep pushing my limits. I was trying to think of which summit was my favorite, but I don’t think I can nail it down to just one. Catching sunrise on Mount Sherman was amazing. Getting 3 out of 4 of The Quad was challenging and fun. Pikes Peak was an awesome hike and though it was long, it was gorgeous, with multiple different types of terrain. Evans’ summit was quick, and the way down was… trailblazing…

The Quad

In August I took a twist with my 5k adventures and started to Ruck them (ie, carrying weight in a pack, and instead of running I do a quick walk, like a shuffle, but more effective.) I had been shooting for 45 minutes or less with the weight, and at the Esprit de She I clocked in at 44:08!!! I was on fire and I felt amazing!

Esprit de She 2014

In the fall I started attending November Project on Wednesday mornings, before work. The workouts are killer, and though I’m the slowest person there, I never feel unwelcome, and I always get a good burn. Free fitness? Hello. I’ve even been given the positivity award twice, which is crazy because THEY are the ones who keep me positive!

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I finished up the year taking a massive step towards a Life Quest goal of mine (Becoming a Search and Rescue K9 handler). This December, I completed my Wilderness First Aid certification. We spent 2 days in the mountains working through lessons and scenarios, and the scenarios specifically showed me that this is what I want to be doing.

Med Training Group

Unrelated to health and fitness, my life took another huge turn. In September, I felt like I was being called out of ministry. I had been working at my church full time for almost 8 years, and the thought of leaving my job scared me and made me sick to my stomach. But, God provided and showed me where he wanted me to go- and confidently I went. The change has been one of the most difficult things I have ever done, but I know it was the right thing.

Related to health, I also started to see a chiropractor. I am feeling great, and I am hoping that the long term benefits to this are everything that I hope they will be. My Chiro showed us our X-rays and walked us through all the different aspects to them; I feel sort of like an expert on my spine! All the areas where it Zigs instead of Zags directly relate to issues that I have physically and emotionally. It’s amazing.

Upcoming for 2015:

1. More Spartan! I’m thinking a Super?

2. More GORUCK! A challenge in June for my birthday!

3. More November Project! Ya’ll good?

4. More 14ers! Bierstad, Quandary, Democrat…

5. More safety! I’m applying for my church’s safety team!

6. More lifting! I am determined to get my 500# club patch this year!

I’m preparing for a wild ride…

My First 14er(s)

This past weekend I accomplished a goal that I never would’ve believed would be possible- I summited my first two 14ers. For those of you unfamiliar with 14ers, these are mountains where the summit is over 14,000 feet above sea level. They are tough, time consuming, and slightly dangerous. And they are now crossed off my Epic Quest.

This past Sunday my husband and I got up at 3am (ouch) to catch a ride w my BFF and her sister to the trailhead for Grays and Torreys.

The road leading up to the trail head was long and would’ve been impossible to navigate if we hadn’t been in a 4 wheel drive jeep. In the parking lot, even at that crazy early hour of the morning, there were just a few spots left. There was another group of folks heading up right before us, so the place seemed very active.

We suited up with our hydration packs and warm clothes and took off towards the trail. As we hiked along a small slow incline I made the mistake of thinking “this isn’t so bad!” Little did I know we hadn’t even started to ascend the mountain.

We passed some folks who were coming down the mountain and they told us that they had started at 1 am because the super moon made the trail so bright that they didn’t even need their head lamps- the moon was huge.

Anyhow, after about a mile and a half we finally reached the sign with the info about the 14ers we were about to go up against. Grays was 2 miles from where we were and would reach a height of 14,270 ft. Torreys was listed as a little further and 14,267 ft (which was weird because it looked taller from where we stood.)

We stopped for a couple pictures then began the serious part of the hike.

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We passed by a small lake that was crystal clear which was cool- it was formed by the run off from GT! After the lake we started vertical ascension.

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There were parts of the mountain that were easy to hike up, and other parts were still covered with snow and ice. Some places were only 6 inches wide or had no path whatsoever- there were just some cairns indicating that we were still on the right track.

As we went higher and higher the summit, which looked empty, was getting closer and I realized it wasn’t vacated- it was just so high and far away that I couldn’t see the people! They were tiny!!!

Higher and higher it was getting harder to breathe. We would walk about 10 yards and stop to catch our breaths. We did the over and over, slowly going up the side of Grays.

Finally, about 4 hours later we summited Grays Peak. I got to the top and I felt like I could see all of Colorado, it was phenomenal. I took a bunch of pictures because none of them could capture what my eyes were seeing.

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I looked all over the top for the Geo Marker, with no luck. Someone told me that people frequently steal them, so instead of getting a picture of that, I got a picture of myself holding the summit log. That will have to be good enough.

Another hiker offered us some watermelon and I munched on that for a bit before parking behind a rock to dig into my own lunch. The wind had picked up in a big way a few yards (vertically) before the summit, so even though I had added my compression sleeves, the wind was biting. Sitting behind a rock was perfect to block the wind. For my lunch I had a sandwich with gluten free bread, almond butter and jam. I also ate some fruit leather and a little jerky. I wanted to save the rest for our break on Torreys.

It’s funny, as we were about 3 hours into the hike we had passed someone and I asked how far we were from summit and he said we had about an hour yet. I was so pissed I swore and told my hubby and friend that I didn’t think I wanted to continue on to Torreys. I was over it. But sitting on top of Grays changed my mind. This was amazing and I could get used to it.

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After a nice half hour break we decided to make our way over to Torreys. In order to get over there we had to descend a bit to something called the saddle. The descent off of Grays was all shale and we practically slid down the side. It was rough but fast. We trudged along the saddle and approached the side of Torreys.

Torreys is technically shorter than Grays, but the side from the saddle to the summit was ridiculously steep and very tough to navigate. There were a lot of folks coming down and the path was just a few inches wide, if we could see it at all. The steep nature of the side made it so that we would hike about 4-5 yards at a time before we needed a break.

Slowly but surely, one foot in front of the other, we made it to the top. I grabbed the summit log and added our names to it with the comment “ouch.” Coming up Torreys had revealed that I had some major knee pain developing. It was in the same realm as the knee pain I had in my two half marathons except on the inside of the knee. Each time I picked up my foot to continue the upward climb pain would shoot through my entire body. Ouch seemed appropriate.

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We sat on top of Torreys and marveled at the sight again. I could see Longs Peak from where I sat. I ate the rest of my lunch, carrots, jerky, chocolate, and fruit leather and drank a ton of water. After a few more pictures we decided it was time to descend, before the storms rolled in.

Getting down from Torreys was pretty easy until we got to the saddle. Our options from there were to re-ascend the shale covered side of Grays or cross down the side of it. Now, in the summer I’m sure this is a no brainer, but on this day that cut across was covered in snow. Slick slippery snow- and the path was less than a foot wide. That trek was the single most terrifying part of the hike. Even in my new hiking shoes I slipped and caught myself about every other step. I couldn’t look away from my feet for fear or losing my composure.

After what seemed like forever we caught a break from the snow and were back on a rock path. The path was still very narrow but it was easier to navigate. Behind us we watched some folks who had pick axes sit on their bottoms and put the ax in the snow above their heads and slide down. The descent that was going to take us about 2 hours took them less than 2 minutes.

Being that we were ax-less, we continued walking. We passed by some folks with an injured pup (lots of people had experienced dogs with them- I was impressed). This pup had cut his paw on a rock in the saddle and his owner was trying everything to protect it. We let her know that if she needed help carrying him down we were happy to help. She said she was good but thank you so much and we continued on our way.

We each took turns falling as we were fatigued and getting sloppy, but the worst was for my husband. He slipped on a rock and tucked under, narrowly missing hitting his skull on the boulder. Instead, he whacked into it with his ribs. Writing this now, 3 days later, he is in a ton of pain still and possibly has broken ribs. Word to the wise: hiking is very dangerous and should always be approached with caution.

Slowly we made our way back down, past the clear lake and to the trail head. Looking over my shoulder I just couldn’t believe that we had actually done it and that I had been on top of those mountains that were so far away you couldn’t even see people on them. Crazy.

While I am still in so much pain (my calves are killing me!) I wouldn’t change it for the world and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to tackle this amazing adventure.

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